Academy Staff

Jonathan Henderson

Academy Manager

Jonny holds a MSc in Coaching Science as well as a BSc honors in Sports Coaching. He also holds both a UEFA A Licence and the FA Youth Award. Jonny previously ran the Advanced Development Centre programme before assuming a full time role within the academy as lead of the Foundation Phase. After 14 months in this role he progressed to take on the role as lead of the Youth Development Phase as well as the Head of Coaching role. Previous to this, he was Head of Youth Development at Merthyr Town FC and has extensive experience of youth development as a sport development officer.

Alex Hinder

Head of Academy Recruitment

Alex has been with the club since 2002 and has been in the role of Head of Academy Recruitment since 2005, he has developed the recruitment set up that brings in the best players from the Bristol and surrounding areas.  This is an essential part of the academy process that has helped achieve a consistent flow of players into the first team, that currently boasts 12 players in the squad that have come through our academy.

Alex is a highly valued member of the academy management team who also holds key responsibilities for the welfare of all players in the academy.  He lives in Bristol and has an extensive knowledge of the local football scene.

Nikki Parker

Academy Operations Manager & Club Safeguarding/ Welfare Officer

Nikki as the operations manager has responsibility for managing the day to day operations of the academy.  She is the focal point for all communications with the football league and opposition academies in the games programme.

Nikki is also the Academy and Club point of contact regarding all Safeguarding/Welfare concerns :-07768 481728

Tom Parrinello

Lead Professional Development Coach U18s Squad
Coaches: Under 18’s

Tom has been with the Academy in a number of capacities for 17 years. He was signed as a Pre-Academy Under 8 player and progressed all the way through the system to be offered a scholarship at the age of 15. One year into his 2 year scholarship Tom was offered an early professional contract and was a professional with the club for 3 and a half years. During this time the club gained promotion from League 2 to League 1 via a play off final at Wembley against Shrewsbury Town. Tom made his first team professional debut aged 18 against Rushden & Diamonds in the FA Cup 2nd Round.

Tom holds the UEFA A Licence and FA Youth Award.  He is currently the Lead Professional Development Coach for our U18s squad

Dafydd Williams

Lead Youth Development Phase Coach
Dafydd is in his 4th season at Bristol Rovers Academy and has six years Academy experience, of which include working as Assistant and Lead Coach at Cardiff City and Swansea City, with various age groups, predominantly U10s & U11s. He also spent a year delivering on Cardiff City Day’s Release, coaching and as Education Assistant.  Dafydds coaching qualifications include UEFA B License, FA Youth Award and the FA Futsal Level 1 Award. In addition to this he holds a BSc degree in Sports Coaching and Performance, and FD degree in Football Coaching and Performance.
He has gained a number of other coaching experiences in roles such as a Development Manager, Coach Mentor and Academy Head Coach. With also time spent out in the USA.

Luke Smith

Lead Foundation Phase Coach

Luke joined the Academy in July 2015 and has recently been appointed as our Lead Foundation Phase Coach. He holds a BA (Hons) in Sports Management and Football studies combined with a UEFA B Licence and the FA Youth Award. Luke is also a Coach Education Affiliate Tutor with the English FA and delivers Level 1 and 2 courses. He is currently working towards his UEFA A Licence and Advanced Youth Award Qualifications.

Previous coaching experiences include working in the USA covering 15 states before taking up an Academy Programme Manager role, where he oversaw the development of a club with 1800+ players. After returning to the UK, Luke set up a successful Wiltshire based Development Centre called Future of Football. He wrote the philosophy and curriculum and they currently deliver skill based technical training to 230+ players a week. He also worked as a PE Coordinator for a large school partnership.

Sophie Morgan

Lead Pre-Academy Phase Coach

Sophie joined us last summer and has been an outstanding addition to our programme as she has progressed to lead with our pre-academy programme.  She brings with her a wealth of experience working with younger players and has a real talent for engaging and inspiring our pre-academy boys.  Sophie has been involved in football since she was 8 years old progressing through the ranks of Bristol City’s Centre of Excellence right up to the women’s team at the age of just 15 before moving on to Bristol Academy where she carried on her career in football and coaching. Sophie has also played football across the USA and Canada.

Steve Bissix

Head of Medical
Coaches: Under 18’s

Steve joined Rovers back in the year 2001 after qualifying as in 2000 and has been responsible for the medical welfare of all Academy players during this time.

He also has regular contact with the first team playing staff.

Steve is a huge family man and is a highly valued member of the Bristol Rovers team.

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Ed Strange

Life Skills & Performance Psychology Coach

Lee Mansell

Professional Development Phase Coach U18s
Coaches: Under 18’s

Paul Britton

Age Group Coach

Polly has been hugely successful with the under 16 age group over the past few years bringing many scholars and pros through the ranks. He holds the UEFA B Licence.

He is a well known figure on the local non League scene and has managed and coached at a number of levels.

Phil Hicks

Age Group Coach
Phil is a UEFA B Licence & FA Youth Award coach who is currently studying for an MSc in Coaching Science. Phil possesses a BSc (Hons) in Sport & Exercise Science and works as the Sports Development Officer at the University of the West of England, delivering coach education programmes to its students & coaching the Men’s First Team. Phil also delivers Level 1 & 2 courses as an Affiliate Tutor for the FA.

Grant Kalahar

Age Group Coach

Grant has been a coach, coach educator and mentor in professional, international, academy, and grass roots capacities for over 10 years. He holds the UEFA A licence, FA Youth Award and is currently a candidate on the FA Advanced Youth Award. He has worked at various academies in the Foundation, Youth Development and Professional Development phases in coach, academy manager and head of coaching roles to provide support to the development of several professional and international players.

Grant is a great addition to our team and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our academy programme.

Pete Martin

Age Group Coach

Pete has been a coach in the Youth Development Phase with us for 4 years. He has been a UEFA B licence coach since 2009, and has completed the FA Youth Award. He has also recently been selected and trained as an English F.A. Coach Education Tutor. Pete has been coaching football to juniors of various ages at the University of Bath for many years and is also currently Coach to an u12 Grass roots team. Pete has worked in elite sport for 13 years as Tennis Operations Manager at the University of Bath, home to some of the Uk’s top players, where he also delivers on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence and is a Lifestyle Support Advisor to Dual Career Athletes.

Derek Scale

Age Group Coach

Derek has been with the Academy for over five years having started his career as a trainee at Bristol City FC and then moving on to non-league football. Derek is a UEFA B Licenced coach and has also completed the FA Youth Award.

He was also the Team Leader for the FA Skills programme in Somerset for a long period of time and has accumulated over 20 years experience in coaching. Derek has set up his own Youth Football Club called Bristol Central where he is the Chairman of the club. Shaquille Hunt & Josh Southway started their trade at the club before moving onto Bristol Rovers as professionals.

Jeff Turner

Age Group Coach

Jeff joined the team as in December 2015 as coach of the U10s and comes with a wealth of coaching experience and knowledge. Jeff has been coaching youth players since 2011 and has worked at West Bromwich Albion development centre and the Bristol Rovers development centres. He also works for Gloucestershire FA as part of the Girls Elite Player Pathway.

Jeff has completed his UEFA B licence qualified and his Youth Award and also has the FA Goalkeeping Level 2 qualification and FA Futsal Level 1. Jeff also combines his work coaching in the Foundation Phase with coaching Strength and Conditioning within the Youth Development Phase.


Rob Prior

Age Group Coach

Rob joined the academy last season as part of our mentoring programme after earning a reputation as a young coach with great potential in local football.  He has completed the FA Level One and Two awards in coaching football and the FA Youth Award including Modules one, two and three.  He has coaching experience in the youth programmes at Clevedon Town and Yate Town and also coached Clapton in Gordano mens last season where he won a youth development award with the club.

Ian Tincknell

Age Group Coach

Ian joined the academy in 2012 and has coached our under 9s for the previous four seasons.  He is an A Licence coach since 1995 and he spent 15 years at Bristol City Academy coaching the under 8/9/10 boys.  He also set up the Girls Centre of Excellence where he was the Director from 2000-2006.

Ian is also a Coach Educator delivering Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses for the FA.  Ian played at Weston-s-Mare and went on to successfully run the youth team winning the league in the 1991/1992 season.

Adam Divorty

Lead Performance Analyst

Adam joined the academy at the beginning of the 2015/16 season leading the performance analysis programme. The role involves providing video and statistical feedback for coaches and players to enhance player development.

Adam holds a BSc in Sport Science and is currently studying for an MSc in Performance Analysis at Cardiff Metropolitan University.  His previous experience includes women’s premier league hockey team Sutton Coldfield and Swindon Town FC’s academy.